Difference Between Expunging and Sealing a Record

When a criminal history record is sealed, the public will not have access to it. Certain governmental or related entities, primarily those listed in s. 943.059(4)(a), Florida Statutes, have access to sealed record information in its entirety.

When a record has been expunged, those entities which would have access to a sealed record will be informed that the subject of the record has had a record expunged, but would not have access to the record itself without a court order. All they would receive is a caveat statement indicating that “Criminal Information has been Expunged from this Record”.

Requirements for Expunging a Criminal Record

Some felony offenses are eligible for expungement in Florida. Before a person applies for expungement, the following criteria must be met:

  1. He/she had all criminal charges dismissed.
  2. He/she was not acquitted after a trial.
  3. He/she did not plead “guilty” or “no contest” to the offense to be expunged, even if adjudication is withheld.
  4. He/she has not been found guilty of a crime as an adult.

Requirements for Sealing a Criminal Record

  1. He/she has not been adjudicated guilty of a crime.
  2. He /she has not plead to a crime ineligible to be sealed or expunged, even if adjudication is withheld.

Crimes that Cannot be Sealed or Expunged

Not all felonies can be sealed or expunged. Below is a complete list of felonies that are not eligible for expungement. If a person pleads “guilty” or “no contest” to any of the charges that are below, he/she will not be eligible for expungement or sealing:

  • Arson
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Molestation
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Prostitution
  • Aggravated Battery
  • Sexual Battery
  • Pandering
  • Aggravated Stalking
  • Homicide
  • Lewd Conduct
  • Child Abuse
  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Child Sexual Abuse
  • Manslaughter
  • Carjacking
  • Child Pornography
  • Kidnapping
  • Terrorism
  • Elder Abuse
  • Illegal Pornography
  • Burglary